The Intersection of Goodhart's Law and the Art of Influence in Modern Systems

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Mar 11, 2024

3 min read


The Intersection of Goodhart's Law and the Art of Influence in Modern Systems


In today's complex and interconnected world, the reliance on measurement and the need to influence others have become paramount. Goodhart's Law highlights the challenges of measurement, while the art of influence is crucial for achieving desired outcomes. This article explores the commonalities between these two concepts and provides actionable advice for navigating these complexities.

The Power of Metrics:

Measurement serves as a powerful tool that replaces fallible intuition, misplaced trust, and irreducible complexity. Metrics allow us to make effective rules and structures, leading to improved outcomes. When used appropriately, metrics help us understand and manage modern systems, whether technical, human, or a mix of both. However, it is important to note that once a measure becomes a metric, it may lose its effectiveness as a measure.

The Illusion of Freedom and the Need for Influence:

Even in the highest levels of decision-making, the freedom to decide is an illusion. Collaboration and working with others to achieve desired outcomes necessitate the art of influence. Without the ability to effectively influence others, even the most brilliant ideas may go unnoticed or unimplemented. To succeed, one must be able to weave a compelling story that resonates and spreads easily.

The Value of Reflection and Trust:

Great managers understand that good ideas can come from various sources, including clients, team members, advisors, and even other companies. Reflection on past failures and unsuccessful bets can lead to greater collective learning and future trust. By analyzing previous decisions that did not work, we can gain valuable insights and improve our decision-making processes.

Actionable Advice for Influencing Others:

1) Adopt the Advisor Mindset: When seeking to influence others, focus on influencing their frameworks and principles for decision-making. By understanding their perspective and aligning your ideas with their values, you can increase the chances of gaining their support.

2) Embrace the Solver Mindset: To prove the positive impact of a particular decision, provide evidence and demonstrate its value. Showing others how your idea solves a problem or addresses a need can make it more appealing and easier to accept.

3) Context is Key: Recognize that different situations require different mindsets. Managers should aim for an advisor mindset with their reports, empowering them to make decisions and take ownership. On the other hand, reports should adopt a solver's mindset when presenting ideas to their managers, reducing decision burden and facilitating smoother collaboration.


Measurement and influence are integral aspects of navigating modern systems. By understanding the complexities of measurement and embracing the art of influence, we can improve outcomes and achieve success. Remember to reflect on past failures, adopt the appropriate mindset for each context, and focus on building trust through effective communication. Through these actionable steps, we can navigate the challenges posed by Goodhart's Law and the need for influence in today's interconnected world.

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